Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

BT Matters Pilot Begins in Clinton City Schools

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Jeff Ertzberger and Somer Lewis Beginning Teaching Matters (BT Matters)

WCE director of technology Jeff Ertzberger and PDS director Somer Lewis are conducting a pilot of Beginning Teaching Matters (BT Matters) in partnership with Clinton City Schools during the 2014-15 academic year.

The goal of BT Matters is to improve teacher retention by providing new teachers with master teacher mentors, educational resources and a community-based network of support. Twenty-eight teachers with zero to three years’ experience are participating in the pilot which began in August.

At the core of BT Matters is a professional learning model designed by the BT Matters team, which includes WCE faculty and students. The model will include a series of six modules, each based on a topic teachers have sited via research as a reason why they leave. The topics are classroom management, workload, isolation, parent communication, instructional support and leadership.

Each module will contain an online and a face-to-face component and resources to help teachers. Participant and facilitator guides will be provided by WCE.

Jeff Ertzberger and Somer Lewis Beginning Teaching Matters (BT Matters)Clinton City Schools district facilitator Linda Brunson and master teachers Karen Randleman and Kelly Schultz will facilitate the pilot program using the professional learning model created by WCE. A community component will be added by the school facilitators to help beginning teachers learn about the local culture and build relationships that extend beyond the school.

New teacher attrition is a serious problem in the state and the nation. Researchers estimate that between 40 to 50 percent of beginning teachers leave the profession within five years.

Lewis and Ertzberger hope BT Matters can be easily scaled, customized and implemented cost-effectively at school districts throughout the state. During the 2014-15 school year, they will meet monthly with Clinton City School facilitators, beginning teachers and teacher mentors. They plan to fine-tune and enhance the program based on pilot results, and make BT Matters available free of charge to schools and school districts throughout North Carolina next year.

BT Matters is funded by a $50,000 grant for innovation in education that was awarded to the college in February by the Institute for Emerging Issues in partnership with the State Employees Credit Union.

The pilot program was featured in Clintonnc.com Aug. 22: http://bit.ly/YCJgCc

For more information visit www.BTMatters.org